Welcome to “the 115”: Union’s Bottling and Canning Facility

Here at Union Wine Company, we believe that good wine should be accessible. A while back we came up with an idea to put our wine in cans. Now, six years later, the canned wine industry is taking wine to places it has never been (literally). 

We want to give you a behind the scenes peek into our packaging facility so you can see the process that goes into bringing our cans—and bottles—into your hands.

Underwood PG

Our packaging facility which opened in 2018 is the largest canning and bottling facility in Oregon. When running at full speed, it can go head-to-head with a Coca-Cola bottling plant. The 115, which is what we call it because its’ address is on 115th Ave. in Tualatin, is capable of holding up to 40,000 gallons of wine at one time, and we can produce 4,300 cases of canned wine in a day. 

Simply put, that’s a lot of wine.

This has been a huge upgrade from our early days as a company when we had to rent a mobile bottling truck for each round of production. As the demand for our wines increased, opening a packaging facility was a necessity. We have a total of nine full-time employees who are experts in the field and run our packaging plant year-round. 

The packaging process.

Packaging begins when bulk pallets of empty wine bottles and recycled cans arrive at our facility. 

The 115

Union Wine Company

Fun Fact: One of the greatest pros of using cans over bottles is that each can is made out of 70% recycled materials. 

Cans and bottles are then moved by our staff onto a feeder where they will be rinsed, cleaned from the inside out, and marked with a tracking code.

Bottles are then sparged—or flushed out—with inert gas (Nitrogen) and cans are purged with compressed air after passing an ionizer, allowing any particulate to be blown out.

Union Wine Company

After being thoroughly cleaned, the can or bottle makes its way to the filler where it gets filled with the proper vintage of wine. The ends of cans are then sealed shut and screw caps are applied to the bottles. Before the cans of still wine (non-bubbles) are sealed, a drop of nitrogen is added at the top to prevent the wine from oxidizing. 

Our can filler is capable of filling 200 cans per minute, and the bottle filler is able to fill 100 bottles per minute.

The 115

Underwood Canned Wine

 Fun Fact: The Vintage of each wine is printed on the bottom of every can. 

After being filled and sealed, the product goes through another rinsing tunnel to get cleaned off. The cans are then put into 12-pack cases, and the bottles go to a drop-packer for cases of 12 as well.

The same wine goes into the cans as we put into bottles. 

Still with me? While this entire process may sound complicated, it takes only half an hour from start to finish.  

The 115

Cans have a lower environmental impact than bottles.

As a company, we have always been committed to the health of our planet and making sustainable choices for our future. Whether it is through our winemaking practices, or through promoting recyclable products, we always think about how we are impacting the environment.

Why are cans more eco-friendly than bottles? 

While both cans and bottles are recyclable, bottles leave the larger carbon footprint of the two.

The transportation of bottled wine creates 20% more greenhouse gases than transporting the same amount of canned wine. This is because bottles require more cardboard to package and take up more space in trucks. Aluminum cans are simply easier to package and ship and the environment benefits from this choice. 

Underwood Wine in a can

From production to hands, and back again

Another benefit of aluminum cans is that they are 100% recyclable and the process of getting them back into production is faster than you might expect. From the time you toss a can into a recycling bin, it takes only 60 days for it to be fully reused and back on supermarket shelves. 

We love our wine, but we love the global community we live in too, and we hope with our new packaging facility we can continue to move towards a greener future. 

The Mei Wine Colada: A Great Cocktail for a Great Cause

Mei Wine Cocktail

A few years ago, Union Wine Company Owner and Paterfamilias Ryan Harms sat down with one of his favorite chefs, Mei Lin, and together they set out to collaborate on a wine cooler that employed the approachability of Union’s wine (#pinkiesdown) while evoking all of the flavors that Mei Lin grew up with and currently uses in her recipes.

A little background… Mei Lin was awarded Bravo TV’s Top Chef in Season 12 and honored as one of Eater’s Young Guns in 2014. Since then, she has gone on to open her own restaurant, Nightshade, in Los Angeles. Like most of the restaurants around the country, Nightshade was forced to temporarily close during the pandemic. Currently, the only places to buy Mei Lin’s wine are at her restaurant or through the Union Wine Co. website. In a show of support, not just for Mei, but for all of her employees, Union has decided that through the end of June they will donate 100% of the profits from the sale of her wine to the staff of the restaurant.

So what are you waiting for? How about a delicious cocktail using Mei Wine—as if drinking it alone wasn’t amazing enough! To support this cause and encourage you to order some cans of her wine here, we created a Piña Colada style cocktail that highlights the tropical cooler vibe of Mei Lin’s wine.

As an added bonus, we are going to give you a step-by-step on how to quickly and painlessly skin a whole pineapple for use as a garnish. So without further ado, we present…

Mei Wine Cocktail

The Mei Wine Colada with Charred Pineapple

Here’s what you will need to make 2 drinks:

6 oz or 1/2 can Mei Wine
3 oz Coco Lopez Coconut Cream (the Best!)
2 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice
2 oz white rum (we recommend Cruzan Aged White Rum)
1 C crushed ice
1 pineapple

Mei Wine Cocktail

Measure all the ingredients into a large shaker. Since you will be using crushed ice, we recommend chilling the shaker, the glasses, and the liquid beforehand so that as little of the ice melts as possible.

Mei Wine Cocktail

There are many great rums on the market these days. We really like Cruzan for this recipe because it is not only affordable but has a very balanced flavor that will not overpower the Mei Wine.

Mei Wine Cocktail

But of course, let’s not forget the star of the show, Mei Wine.

Mei Wine Cocktail

For a garnish that is not only delicious but will impress your drinking companions, we recommend charred fresh pineapple. We realize that many people are not familiar with how easy it is to prepare a fresh pineapple, so we decided to present a quick tutorial.


Cut the top and bottom off of the pineapple and discard.

Mei Wine Cocktail


Now that the pineapple has a flat edge to sit on, use a large kitchen knife to cut around the sides of the pineapple, following the natural curve and trying to remove as little of the flesh as possible.

Mei Wine Cocktail


Once you have gone all the way around the fruit, you can slice rings or cut chunks from each side, discarding the woody center.

Mei Wine Cocktail

You can char your pineapple on the grill or over the flame of a gas stove. Cut the charred pineapple into pieces and skewer them for garnish on the drink. This can be done ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Finally, put all liquid ingredients and the crushed ice into the chilled shaker. Shake vigorously and then divide equally between two glasses. Garnish with the charred pineapple and Enjoy!

Mei Wine Cocktail

Please consider ordering some Mei Wine before the end of June and help us help Mei’s restaurant staff. You’ll have the chance to create an amazing cocktail in the process!

Cheers and #pinkiesdown.

Photography, Recipe, and Text by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer)

Classic Kitchen Lessons: French Onion Soup

Union Wine Company French Onion Soup

Being stuck inside all the time isn’t ideal, but it does have a few benefits, one of which is that many people are becoming much more daring with their culinary projects. There are tons of simple yet impressive recipes that are easier than you ever imagined. And right now is a great time to try them so that when we can all hang out together again you will have confidence in your techniques.

One such recipe is French Onion Soup. Introduced to America in the 1960s by Julia Child, this amazingly unique soup has fallen out of fashion lately, which is a real shame because it is as simple as it is delicious. When I first began my cooking career, I was introduced to a set of three books that Saveur Magazine published: one a collection of classic American food, one of classic Italian food, and one of classic French food. All three are great, but I recently repurchased the French one. This will not only provide simple and accessible classic French recipes, but being from Saveur, there are lots of great anecdotes about the people, regions, and histories associated with the dishes.

Union Wine Company French Onion Soup

I took my inspiration for this recipe from that book but made a few changes and additions which I have picked up over the years. It also helps if you have a set of incredibly cool small ceramic handled crockpots to cook your soup in, but this is by no means necessary. The handles do come in awfully, well, handy, when serving the dish. I’m quite proud of my set…

Union Wine Company French Onion Soup

There are two parts to French Onion Soup: making the soup itself and then assembling it for serving. Let’s start with the basics and then move into the technique.

Union Wine Company French Onion Soup

For French Onion Soup:

About 3 lbs of yellow onions
64 oz. beef stock (preferably unsalted)
A small bunch of fresh thyme
2 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 C King’s Ridge Pinot Gris (plus more for drinking!)
3 oz Unsalted Butter
Salt & Pepper

To Finish and Serve:

Baguette or other firm French Bread
1 Tbs Butter
1 lb Shredded Gruyere Cheese (for 4 soup bowls)


Making the Soup:


Peel and slice your onions. You will want to slice them “North to South” as illustrated in the picture. This will ensure that while cooking, the onions will caramelize well.

(Editors note: Cutting onions is brutal. You will cry. Everyone cries. In 15 years of professional cooking, I have heard every wives tale as to how to avoid this, and I can say none has ever worked for me. But maybe you know something I don’t.)

Union Wine Company French Onion Soup


Take 4-6 good sized sprigs of fresh thyme and tie them together with butchers twine. This will allow you to impart a fresh thyme flavor into the broth without worrying about any sprigs being left behind in the soup.

Union Wine Company French Onion Soup


Melt the 3 oz of butter in a heavy-bottomed pot. Just as it starts to bubble, add all your sliced onions and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently and making sure they don’t burn until onions begin to caramelize and turn light brown, about 20 minutes.

Union Wine Company French Onion Soup


Deglaze with the wine and cook until all the wine has evaporated. Continue to cook onions until they are a deep rich brown. Many people will tell you to add sugar at this point, but I feel the natural sugars in the wine do the trick just as well.

Union Wine Company Kings Ridge Pinot Gris


Add the beef broth, Worcestershire Sauce and thyme, and simmer for 20 minutes. Let cool in the pot. Once cooled, remove the thyme and adjust seasoning if necessary with more salt and pepper.

Putting it all Together:


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. I recommend putting your ceramic crocks on a sheet pan and placing them in the cold oven, allowing them to heat up gradually as the oven heats. Return your soup to the stove and bring to a light simmer. Grate your gruyere cheese and set aside.

Union Wine Company French Onion Soup


Into each hot crockpot, ladle in the hot soup. You will want to make sure you have a little extra broth as the bread will soak up a good amount.

Union Wine Company French Onion Soup


Slice your bread into 1/4 inch thick slices and lightly toast in a pan with the butter. Gently place on top of the soup.

Union Wine Company French Onion Soup


Cover each top with the shredded gruyere cheese. Return to the oven and melt cheese for 5-10 minutes. Then switch the oven to broil and keep a close eye on the soup so that the cheese colors but doesn’t burn. Carefully remove and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Union Wine Company French Onion Soup

Pull the King’s Ridge Pinot Gris out of the fridge, pour a few glasses and you are good to go. I like to serve this soup with a simple arugula salad, dressed with lemon juice, salt, and a little extra virgin olive oil.

Bon Appétit!

Union Wine Company French Onion Soup

Photography, Recipe and Text by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer)

Earth Day 2020 and Our Garden at Amity Vineyards

Amity Vineyards

Today is April 22, 2020, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and the earth is going through some strange times. The air is clearer and cleaner now than it has been in years, the skies and oceans are quieter, and I’m sure all the creatures and plants are enjoying the respite from our typically busy lives. That should all be good news on this momentous Earth Day, and it is, but unfortunately, this has all come at a huge cost to humans. We at Union Wine Company hope that there is an end to social distancing soon and that everyone stays healthy until the public health experts and epidemiologists come up with a solution that allows us to go back to “normal.” However, we also hope that we—the collective we—come out of this smarter and more aware and in tune with the choices we make and how they affect Mother Earth. We have an awesome opportunity to make some changes and scale back some of our typically polluting ways.  

During this time of remote work and fewer activities we may also have gotten into some better eating habits, and maybe are even growing more of our own food, or looking to local farmers markets for fresh, organic produce. Another great thing to do is to join a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture.) CSA’s are a fantastic way to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer.  

As a company, we have always tried to be responsible in our winemaking and grape growing. We are LIVE Certified Sustainable at our winery and at Amity Vineyards. Dry farming has always been in practice at Amity, and we have a history of working to create a beautiful bio-diversity at the vineyard that benefits all of us.  

Amity Vineyards Blueberry

Amity Vineyards was planted nearly 50 years ago with own rooted vines. At that time, and now, there is a passion for not only growing grapes, but also for keeping the natural biodiversity strong by growing flowers, fruit trees, and vegetables. There is a 30-year-old blueberry bush on the property, a giant fig tree, and a huge apple tree. Peonies and lilies have been favorite flowers at Amity from the beginning. And, today at the vineyard we have citrus in the greenhouse and olive trees beginning to grow along the driveway. 

Amity Vineyards Garden

In 2017, to keep up the tradition of cultivating more richness and biodiversity at the vineyard, we brought in a full-time gardener and vegetable farmer extraordinaire, Mandy Caldcleugh. Mandy plants and maintains a beautiful vegetable garden high on the hill of the vineyard. Her efforts sustain the land and bring in beneficial insects and pollinators, creating a diverse ecosystem that keeps disease pressure down and facilitates a more holistic environment. Additionally, Mandy focuses on growing vegetables, flowers and plants that go to our families and friends at the winery and will eventually sustain our hospitality program and tasting room.  

Amity Gardens CSA box

Lucky for us, Mandy provides all employees a bin of vegetables on a weekly basis about 9 months of the year—a free Union benefit that we all enjoy and that helps to keep us healthy.    

Right now, in the garden at Amity, you’ll find leeks, green garlic, spring onions, shallots, radicchio, frisée, fava greens, and purple sprouting broccoli, also borage and bees friend. And very soon we’ll be enjoying lots of potatoes, beets, carrots, turnips, lettuce and kohlrabi, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collards…I think you get the idea.
Amity Vineyards garden

Oh, and the rhubarb is producing and all the strawberries are flowering.

We wish you a Happy and Healthy Earth Day! 

Stay well and take good care of our earth.  

Shelter in Place Projects: Amazing Homemade Dog Treats

Dog Treats
Meet Oliver, my bestest buddy and definitely my savior during these safe, but oh-so-boring, times. Let’s face it, most of us have already binged Tiger King and McMillions (spoiler alert—neither one lives up to the hype.) We’ve been reading, doing puzzles, cooking and finding a myriad of ways to stay safe but also stay busy.
One of my escapes from the house (while still maintaining social distancing) is to take Oliver to the dog park. We both get some fresh air and also get to stretch our legs. These dog park trips have really been keeping me sane, so I felt it was only fair to do something nice in return for his companionship. (Not to mention, a lot of the local pet stores are running low on essentials and getting dog treats is becoming more difficult.)
So I figured, why not do a little research and come up with a simple but healthy homemade dog treat that we can both feel good about. The recipe has only 5 ingredients, is incredibly easy to make, and I swear your dog will go absolutely bonkers for them.
Dog Treats
How cool do those look??!
Here’s all you will need:
Dog Treats
Delicious Dog Treats
2 eggs
1/2 C canned pumpkin puree
1/4 C healthy peanut butter
1 cube of beef bouillon 
1/2 C water
2-3 C whole wheat flour (as usual, we recommend Bob’s Red Mill)
A few notes before we begin:
Let’s just be honest here…everyone has a can of pumpkin puree in their pantry leftover from thanksgiving. This is a great way to use it up.
Beef bouillon cubes are usually dissolved in 1 C of water. I only use half a cup to concentrate the flavor. You can leave this ingredient out entirely, but I promise your dog will love you if you keep it in the recipe.
As I will further explain, the flour will vary as per how wet the other ingredients are.
Most people will have whole wheat flour that they had to buy for some random recipe and never used again—so check the back of your baking shelf before going to buy more.
Dog Treats

Crack a can of Underwood Pinot Noir. (This is solely for consumption, not the recipe.) Then, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Dissolve one bouillon cube in 1/2 C of water and set aside to cool.
Once bouillon liquid is cool, put eggs, pumpkin puree, peanut butter, and bullion liquid into a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment and blend well.
While running mixer, slowly add flour, 1/2 C at a time until the dough comes together and is no longer sticky.  When I did it, it took about 2 1/4 C of flour but this may vary. Remove the dough, place on a large work surface dusted with flour and kneed for 2-3 minutes.


Dog Treats
Puppy Interlude….
Here is an unnecessary but ridiculously cute picture of Oliver (and his sister Pretty Penny) just to keep you entertained.
Dog Treats
Dog Treats
Roll out the dough to your desired thickness (I went with a 1/4” because they tend to puff up in cooking.) Use a cookie cutter or just cut small squares—I promise your dog won’t know the difference—and place on a baking sheet with either a silpat pan liner or parchment paper. Bake for 20-30 minutes, rotating the sheet pans every 7-8 minutes for even baking.
The extra dough can be reshaped and used for a second and third batch.
Dog Treats
Let the treats cool and keep in a dry place for up to a month.
Dog Treats
Believe me, you will have one happy puppy, not to mention an incredibly productive afternoon!
Enjoy and remember to keep those #pinkiesdown.
Dog Treats
Dog Treats
Photography, Recipe and Text by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer)